Three cheers for biodiversity

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Text by Daniel Pauly

Yes, the 6th Extinction is underway, and we are going to lose quite a bit of the Earth’s biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine, because of our agriculture, our fisheries, and because there are so many of us. But we should try to minimize the loss, using all the tools at our disposal.

One of these tools is slowing down, or even reversing, the rate at which we expand into and thus transform and ultimately destroy natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. On land, this consists of creating parks where the natural vegetative cover, notably forests, can maintain or reestablish itself, and provide habitats for animals that cannot live in landscapes shaped by agriculture.

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Developing love for fishery data

Ar’ash Tavakolie

Ar’ash Tavakolie

At some point in his life after having been in Vancouver for a few years and being done with his Ph.D. at UBC, Ar’ash Tavakolie really wanted to join an organization working to make the world a better place.

He wanted, of course, to put his engineering and machine-learning skills to good use, so he was looking for a place where data processing and knowledge creation were the focal points. That is how he landed, a decade ago, at the Sea Around Us. “The fact that it was in marine conservation also encouraged me. I felt I could pay my dues to the environment,” he says with a smile.

Ar’ash loves that, through the collaborative work he was doing with the Sea Around Us team, he was able to help spread the word about how much countries are (over)fishing and the dangerous situation in which fisheries are putting the world’s fish stocks.

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The plan to ban fishing in more than half the world’s oceans

Fishes eye view of the Island Star. Photo by Derek Keats, Flickr.

Fishes eye view of the Island Star. Photo by Derek Keats, Flickr.

This analysis was originally posted in New Scientist, and can be found here.

By James Randerson.

IT IS one of the planet’s last true wildernesses, yet a handful of the world’s wealthiest nations are plundering its riches to satisfy the appetites of luxury consumers – all with the help of billions in public money. Continue reading

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Impacts of climate change on contaminants in fisheries

Dr. Elsie Sunderland (left). Photo: Valentina Ruiz Leotaud.

Dr. Elsie Sunderland (left). Photo: Valentina Ruiz Leotaud.

By: Valentina Ruiz Leotaud.

On November 17th, the Nereus Program hosted a talk with a VIP guest speaker: Dr. Elsie Sunderland, the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University.

In an hour-long presentation, which took place at UBC’s Green College, Dr. Sunderland summarized part of the work that her research group is undertaking on the biogeochemistry of global contaminants.

Many environmental contaminants biomagnify in marine food webs, reaching high concentrations in top predators, which means that they are posing health risks to humans and wildlife.

Sunderland started by saying that focusing just on carbon pollutants provides a very narrow view that ignores the vast array of substances affecting the environment. Even when policymakers think they are choosing the greenest options when it comes to energy generation, they might be doing quite the opposite.

Dr. Elsie Sunderland.

Dr. Elsie Sunderland.

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